By Yvonne Pflieger

Have you heard of the Ocean Friendly certification by the Surfrider Foundation? This newly launched program certifies and promotes Australian (food) businesses who are protecting our ocean, waves and beaches. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness and encourage all Australians to make environmentally conscious changes to their daily practices with a focus on eliminating single-use plastic.

Businesses need to fulfill at least the six compulsory criteria and have the option to implement the other four as well. We are very proud to say that we fulfill ALL ten criteria without having had to make any changes before the certification was granted. 🙂

Two weeks ago I met the lovely Rowan from Surfrider Foundation in the shop to show her around and go through the checklist. She was impressed with the efforts of the Co-Op and our history. Thank you, Rowan, for taking the time to learn more about the Manly Food Co-Op and helping us spread the word about sustainable businesses in the wider community and giving us the Ocean Friendly certification!

Ocean Friendly Criteria

The six main criteria to be ocean friendly and how we fare against them are:

  • No polystyrene foam use: We have never sold any products in this type of packaging.
  • No single-use plastic straws: We have never offered these, but instead sell alternatives in the form of stainless steel and bamboo straws.
  • Reusable tableware and non-plastic utensils: We don’t really offer take-away, our treats are either packed in the shopper’s own container or bag, are wrapped in paper or put into one of our paper bags that are for sale for a small fee.
  • No water sold in plastic bottles: We have never sold water in plastic bottles, the brand we have comes in glass.
  • No plastic bags: The Co-Op has never offered plastic bags. Our customers and members are encouraged to bring their own bags, can borrow one of the Boomerang bags or use one of the cardboard boxes next to the till.
  • Proper recycling practices: We don’t have a general waste bin, everything does either get reused, recycled (paper, cardboard, glass, plastic) or composted. Volunteers look after the smooth running of this process.

The optional criteria to be ocean friendly and our efforts are:

  • Discounts offered for reusable cups, mugs, bags, containers: We do it the other way round, our customers pay for paper bags and new glass jars, but we also offer used glass jars for use by our members for free.
  • Energy efficient LED lighting and Energy Star appliances: Our cool room is only a few years old and Skope (the manufacturer) is Australian-based and the most energy efficient in the market. We check the energy use of our fridges regularly and make adjustments where necessary. The only option to reduce our energy usage on the appliances is to buy new appliances, but we could only do this via a grant and then why don’t use what we have as long as it lasts, considering that our energy is 100% renewable. Our lighting is LED lighting and all lights get switched off at night. The air con is only in use when needed (during the warmer months).
  • Vegetarian / Sustainable Seafood Options: We don’t sell any meat at the Co-Op, all products are vegetarian and many vegan friendly. We sell tinned fish that is MSC certified.
  • Water conversation efforts: We already have low flow faucets and toilet and have recently bought a used dishwasher to clean and sterilize used jars.

Tell your friends and support local businesses that are Ocean Friendly certified. 🙂

Ocean Friendly Maude Yvonne

Yvonne and Maude smiling with the certificate in hand

About the Author
Yvonne Pflieger is our Marketing Director, Secretary and Member of the Board since September 2017. She is on a journey towards zero waste and has cut out most single-use plastic since 2013, she lives as sustainably as possible. The Manly Food Co-Op is her number one destination for all grocery and fresh fruit and vegetable needs. Follow her on Instagram to learn more.